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Is It Legal to Require Employees to Wear Uniforms?

Is It Legal to Require Employees to Wear Uniforms?

Are you considering making it compulsory for your employees to wear uniforms? Our article breaks down the law on this issue.

13th September 2019

Many businesses in the modern day require their employees to wear uniforms. However, there are certain legal rules you have to follow. Below, we’ll break down what an employer can enforce with uniforms, and what they can’t. This involves part of the employment contract.

Can I tell my employees what to wear?

Yes.

You can require your employees to wear uniforms. However, uniforms can’t be discriminatory. If any person is required to wear a different uniform, or is required to wear one when others aren’t, this can amount to discrimination. This may be due to the person’s gender, age, disability or race. Dress code policies must target all workers.

What about different uniforms for men and women?

The law allows different dress codes for the different sexes. However, it doesn’t allow requiring a uniform for one sex, but not the other. The different dress codes have to be fair, and can’t put an unfair burden on one gender.

Can I tell my employees to be well groomed?

You can require your employees to appear generally clean and presentable on the job. However, similar to uniforms, these grooming requirements can’t be unreasonable.

Can I ban my employees from body modifications, such as tattoos or piercings?

You can’t physically stop an employee from getting a body modification. However, you can require that they remove, or keep these hidden whilst they’re at work. Unless it has some proven religious significance, you enforce that your employees must keep body modifications hidden.

If I choose to enforce a uniform, who has to pay for it?

As the employer, you either have to provide your employees with a uniform allowance to purchase the uniforms, or you must provide a uniform for free.

A uniform allowance

A uniform allowance would cover the employees cost of purchasing a uniform for their job. This may be paid in advance, or as a reimbursement.

Providing a uniform

You may provide a uniform to your employee free of charge. Then, it is the employees responsibility to wash their uniform and ensure it is taken care of. If their employment ends, they are expected to return the uniform to you.

Final thoughts

It’s perfectly legal to require your employees to wear a uniform when conducting work for your business. Uniforms can promote unity and make your office seem more professional. If you’re unsure about any issues regarding uniform rules, an employment lawyer may be able to assist your enquiries.

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Author
Kyle McIndoe

Kyle currently works in the content team as a legal intern for Lawpath. He is in his third year of a Bachelor of Laws with a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) at Macquarie University.